Transneuronal degeneration in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy: evaluation by MR imaging

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The aim of this study was to assess the MR imaging findings of transneuronal degeneration of limbic system in the patients with temporal lobe epilepsy, and to detect the influence of surgery on the anatomy of the limbic system. Axial and coronal T1- and T2-weighted MR images were retrospectively analyzed in 34 patients with temporal lobe epilepsy, focusing on transneuronal degeneration. In 17 of the 34 patients, MR images were also analyzed after selective amygdalo-hippocampectomy. Atrophy of the fornix, mamillary body, mamillothalamic tract (MTT), and thalamus ipsilateral to the epileptic focus was demonstrated on MR images in 14.7, 17.6, 8.8, and 11.8% of the 34 patients, respectively. Focal hyperintensity of the thalamus was found on T2-weighted images in 8.8% of the 34 patients. In 17 patients who were evaluated before and after surgery, transneuronal degeneration was seen more frequently after surgery: fornix (11.8 vs 29.4%), mamillary body (11.8 vs 52.9%), MTT (5.9 vs 11.8%), and thalamus (11.8 vs 11.8%). Transneuronal degeneration of the limbic system is clearly demonstrated by MR imaging in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy, and surgical intervention induces transneuronal degeneration more frequently.

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